Legislative News Alert
Representative Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) has drafted a bill to increase the tobacco tax in Georgia. Georgia’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan 2008-2012 lists “Raising the tobacco excise tax” as its number one priority. The Plan reports that a one dollar increase in the tax will prevent 100,000 children from starting the habit of smoking; encourage 80,000 current smokers to quit; save 50,000 lives; and generate $500 million in tax revenues.
While raising taxes is not a popular subject, given Georgia’s current budget deficit, we’ll have some tough choices ahead. Would we rather have smaller school class sizes, or cheap tobacco? Cut support for health care or have cheap cigarettes? Release prisoners, or have cheap cigarettes? Traffic relief and new roads or cheap tobacco?
The current tax on a pack of cigarettes is 37 cents ranking Georgia the 43rd lowest state in cigarette taxes. An increase of $1.00 would place Georgia 20th. In each of the 42 states that have increased their tobacco tax since 2001, there have been proportional declines in cigarette use.
The Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology’s (GASCO) primary goal is a commitment to improving and extending care and reducing the incidence of disease. GASCO is the lead supporting organization for this House Bill. We encourage our members, other oncologists and medical professionals across the state to join us in our fight to reduce the incidence of the number 1 preventable cause of cancer. You can do this by contacting your local representatives and encouraging them to support this legislation.
To obtain contact information on your local representative go to : www.votesmart.org
Let us know about who you’ve contacted and any other pertinent information by going to www.gasco.us/legislative contacts.
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